DIY: How to Crackle Paint Interior Trim and Moldings

Some people like having their new furniture appear older than it is. The technique used to produce that result is crackle paint. Crackle paint can be used on many different items and the technique is almost the same on all items depending on the size of the item. Some people like to produce this effect on small objects such as vases and small pieces of furniture. Others choose to finish the walls in an entire room with this effect. The project listed here will detail how to crackle paint interior trim and moldings. While you do not want to do both the trim and the molding at the same time, the directions given below will combine the directions together to prevent confusion.

Materials: two different colors of latex satin wall paint, paint brushes (for latex paint), crackle paint finish, drop cloths, painter’s tape

Set up tips:

1. Choose two different colors of latex satin paint. One will be used as the base color for the trim and moldings. The other color will be used as the top coat. The base coat is the color that will show through the cracks of the top coat of paint.

2. Using painter’s tape, cover any sections that are not supposed to have the crackle paint applied, to protect them from being finished accidentally.

3. Ensure drop cloths are placed appropriately to protect furnishings from inadvertently getting paint or finish on them.

4. Be aware the crackle finish will have a milky appearance, but it will dry clear.

5. When applying the top coat of latex paint, do so quickly and only apply one coat of paint. Do not go back and repaint a section because it will ruin the effect already achieved in that section and it will make a mess.

6. Since the area being worked is fairly large in this case, a paint brush will work best to apply the top coat of paint. For smaller areas a sponge can also be used. The effect will turn out a little different too based on what is used to apply the top coat of paint.

7. The crackle effect normally follows the brush strokes of the top coat of paint. The direction of the strokes can be changed to give it a different look.


1. Using the color chosen for the base coat, apply an even coat of paint to the trim and moldings. Let the base coat dry overnight.

2. Apply a coat of the crackle paint finish to the interior trim and moldings. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the crackle paint for drying time, but it is usually about 30 to 60 minutes.

3. Load the brush with the paint being used for the top coat. When loading the brush, ensure there is enough paint on the brush to allow for complete strokes in each area. As already stated, going over a section a second time, will result in a mess.

4. Once a top coat has been applied to the interior trim and moldings, most of the work is done. The only thing left to do, is the clean up of the supplies and area.

Many crackle paint finishing techniques are available online at, which stands for do it yourself. The techniques are very easy and the instructions are clear. Many paint stores, home improvement and art stores carry the crackle paint finish. There are various size containers available too, which makes it even more convenient for consumers. As the project is being completed, remember this is a fun project. This is an opportunity for creativity to shine, not perfection. Sit back and enjoy the hard work that was put into the job.

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